In a circular to fellow councillors Cllr John Duffy has raised further concerns over the awarding to Kingdom of Brent Council's fixed penalty notice littering contract and additional ones after the company was awarded a BHP security contract LINK.
Following on from the council meeting and my new role as a member of the Scrutiny committee.I have further reviewed the Kingdom Securities (KS) figures from 16 June 2016- 26 Jan 2007.The figures (see bottom of the page) show that the council have received £227k in Fixed Penalty notices (FPN). We have paid Kingdom Securities £201K leaving us with £26k to paid all the on costs. It's likely after all on costs we will have less that 10k to invest in much needed environmental improvements, while KS have walked away with over £100k profit.
Within that £201k we have already written off 388 FPNs at a cost £18K .These 388 FPNs were written-off by the council because they were not either legally issued or the person who dropped the fag-but gave a wrong (Mickey Mouse ) name. However under the scheme introduced by Cllr Southwood and the cabinet the council still has to pay £46 for every Mickey Mouse ticket.
The figures will change the more people who will pay and we have some awaiting court and no doubt we write off more tickets given to Mr Mickey Mouse,but that is the position today. The issue is how was this scheme allowed without either allowing a VFM assessment or an in-house bid.
This to me is a typical way that some companies have in the past hoovered up local government contracts. When I was a senior officer, companies would approach me all the time with schemes they wanted to by-pass any legislation or Value For Money (VFM) comparisons. They did not want to prove VFM or get involved in any competitive process. They would try and persuade naive politicians that they should be given the contract without looking at the service needs. In Brent there was never a great service need for fag-butts fines , what we needed was a well trained mobile enforcement team, dealing with dumped bags, fly-tips, paan spitting and other environmental problems.
What really worries me is not the hundreds of thousands of pounds of environmental investment the lead member and the cabinet gave away.
What worries me is the fact that KS have just won a service contract for BHP, if this contract was awarded on the piggy back of the FPN contract which itself was awarded to them without any proper VFM assessment or competition that is a concern. If that contract has officers from the environment supporting their bid as a VFM bid and if there is a link I would also be very concerned. However the main issue is that the Scrutiny Committee call this report in to see if it's value for money and I understand from the chair of scrutiny that meeting will take place in March, if environment officers have given the green light to KS before the Scrutiny Committee, we as Councillors are all wasting our time.
I believe there needs to be an investigation into how the original contract was developed and if there has there been any link between both the FPN and BHP contracts and ensure the council followed all the proper guidelines to achieved VFM for the residents of Brent.
Below are the present figs for the FPN contract.